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Why We Love Underdogs

I’m a Cincinnati Reds fan. And I’m a Tennessee Titans Fan. And I root for the UT Vols. Which means I’m always a fan of the underdog.

My team tends to be the one that Vegas says, “Bet against.”

As a Reds fan, I grew up in “The Nasty Boys” era: Norm Charlton, Randy Myers and Rob Dibble, the three-headed closing pitching monster that did the heavy lifting in the late innings for the Reds in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Throw in a little offensive power like Erik Davis, Chris Sabo and Paul O’Neill, and you’ve got a lovable losers team worth rooting for.

Even with all of that, they were the underdog in the 1990 World Series against the A’s. Which made their sweep of the A’s even that much sweeter.

I love rooting for the underdog. The guys that everybody counts on losing. The guys that are counted out before the game begins. The team that nobody gives a chance.

And don’t we all love rooting for the underdog? It’s no secret that our culture loves movies like Remember the Titans, The Bad News Bears and Rudy. We love shows like The Biggest Loser.

Because there’s a part of us that wants the “unlovable” guy to win. That wants the big bully to lose.

But why do we really love the underdog so much?

Because we are the underdog.

In life, we feel like we’re the guys at the bottom.

We are the underdog:

We were the ones who were picked on at school.

We were the ones who picked on others because we were insecure in ourselves.

We were the ones whose marriages were doomed to fail.

We weren’t the ones “most likely to succeed.”

We were the ones that nobody thought would be good parents.

We were the ones that almost failed out of shop class.

We were the ones that never could get the girl.

We were the ones that were made fun of.

We were the nerds.

The goof-ups.

The forgetful.

The lazy.

The cheap.

The funny looking.

The ugly ones.

The ones with the broken families.

The ones with the addiction.

The ones that were slow.

The overweight ones.

The ones with the lisp.

The dumb ones.

The ones who couldn’t dance.

We’re not any different spiritually, either.

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Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at BenReed.net. In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.